Whatever happened to just letting kids be kids?! Learning and exploring by play and the outdoors. When I was a kid, I ate breakfast then ran outside to find the neighborhood kids. We may have stopped playing for lunch, but it was more likely that we stopped at the neighbor’s chest freezer for a popsicle instead. Dinner bells rang and brief pauses were had, but then we went right back outside, playing flashlight tag and chasing lightning bugs until we passed out.
Where we live now, there are community pools everywhere! Sounds lovely, right?! Yeah, well…wait ‘til you hear the price tag. $1150 for the first year. Yes, you read that right. Each family has to pay a $700 (refundable) deposit for joining the pool and then a $450 annual membership. I don’t know about you, but who has that kind of money just laying around?! Sure, maybe families who have two full time plus incomes, but then when the heck do those people actually have time to go to the pool?!
And don’t even get me started on summer camps. Another great idea…in theory. They are educational, fun, a great way to stay in touch with friends and meet new people. But they also cost, on average, $200/week. If you do work outside the home, you might be able to avoid paying for childcare by hopping from summer camp to summer camp. However, most of them aren’t full day and you still have to figure out other logistics like transportation.
Then there’s sunscreen, bug spray and lawn treatments. Sure, we had them too, but no one worried about what was actually in them! Now we have to worry about parabens, carcinogens and a million other unpronounceable components that will kill us.
Another thing we never worried about when we were kids…ticks! We didn’t even know what they looked like. I remember vacationing in Tennessee and all of the grown-ups freaking about about the possibility that there may be ticks, but we never actually found one. Now, they are EVERYWHERE! There’s no falling asleep under the stars. We have to do thorough tick checks every night as part of our elaborate bedtime routine…searching in all of the folds and wrinkles including butt cracks! But alas, at least one of us ends up finding an engorged tick and then we have to go on antibiotics and stay out of the sun for thirty days (in the summer…aren’t you glad you didn’t get suckered into that pool membership?!).
Speaking of being under the stars, whatever happened to a good old fashioned bonfire? Being the law abiding citizens that we are, we recently turned in an application for a burn permit. I have lived in many places. And yes, each municipality has their own rules and regulations…but get this…our new borough requires the we pay $10 each and every time that we burn. What?! Who does that?! And if we do decide to have a bonfire, forget making ewwy, gooey s’mores chock-full of high-fructose corn syrup and soy lecithin. You better stock up on vegan, organic, all-natural, dairy-free, gluten-free ingredients before you light it up!